Recipe Roundup!

So a whole bunch of recipes for Ancient Harvest have been posted, and I haven’t had time to share the links! Rather than let this become like the email that doesn’t ever get sent because it’s not thorough enough though, I’m taking the  approach that a text is better than silence. Here you go, quick links, a little description:

Kale, fennel and citrus quinoa salad: If you haven’t tried roasted fennel, do! It’s like vegetable candy. The sliced almonds really round out the flavors and textures.

quinoa nicoise salad (14)

Nicoise salad with ancient grains: Ancient Harvest’s Sea Salt & Herb Culinary Ancient Grains blend is PERFECT as a base for the gorgeous array of colors and quality ingredients. This was really fun to photograph (and eat/share).

lentil_bolog (10)

Lentil bolognese: I LOVE this. It’s going to be a serious go-to. So easy to assemble, hearty and versatile. Easy to add to and re-purpose as soup or stew later in the week, and just the right touch of heat!

choc_pudding (4)

Mexican chocolate quinoa pudding: Fudgy and so meltaway good warm. Delicious chilled, too…and EASY.

Maple cinnamon quinoa granola: Have I already shared this link? Either way, it’s become my favorite granola to make.

persim_pomsalad

Spinach salad with quinoa, pomegranate and persimmons: Beautiful and luscious, but I think we’re wandering into repeat territory now for sure, so going to quit with the commentary, except to say

Asian sesame ginger macaroni salad has become another favorite standby–can be quickly made, prepped ahead, done in stages, changed up to suit your mood…also love

Tomato seafood stew with red lentil rotelle, Moroccan vegetable noodle soup and this arrabiatta!

“Snail mail” equivalent soon! 🙂

 

 

Easy dairy free tuna salad

Dave joked the other day, “My favorite part of being vegan is the recipes you make with fish or eggs.” Ha. This is so easy I don’t really want to call it a “recipe”, but to me it came as a fun surprise so I wanted to share.

tuna_chikpeas

I was going to make a “Better-than-tuna-salad” from The Vegan Table using chickpeas, but decided to modify it quite a bit…like by using tuna. Whether we’re in a transition or denial phase, firmly settled as happy “flexitarians”, or whatever, I really like this salad. I love garbanzo bean greatness. Talk about happy-go-lucky, party hardy little legumes. Plain, ground, toasted, pureed, smashed and mashed, they’ve got protein, fiber, iron, folate, manganese, and more. They’re adorably roly-poly, and their name sounds like a Muppet. They can sub in for flour in cookies, or simulate cheese spread, so the brilliance with which they can dress up a can of tuna isn’t really news, I guess.

I could say more, but that’s all I have time for, so will spare the rambling, mostly. Today Dave is running the North Fork 50-miler, and Felix and I are on our own. So far we’ve hiked, dog-walked, explored toys and water table, had a green smoothie breakfast, and played with folding laundry before Monkey’s morning nap. Later, plans are to see friends, go to the library, splash pad or baby pool, meals, and who know what else. It’s funny to think that the whole time, or just about, Dave will be running. My turn next, depending on his report. More soon. 🙂

Easy dairy free tuna salad
These quantities are really rough…and I like it best with a little bit of chopped pickles thrown in, but it’s so easy, anything goes.

  • 1 5-oz can water-packed tuna
  • 1/2 cup cooked or canned chick peas
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup or less diced onion
  • dash salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything tuna through onion in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Deliciously simple poached salmon with garlicky spinach and tomatoes

I never really paid much attention to recipes labeled “Quick & Easy” until now. Frankly, I found them kind of dull. I wasn’t especially challenged, nor did I learn anything from them. Now, the learning and the challenge are all about speed and efficiency. The Question of the Day is invariably a form of, just how marvelously fast can I be whipping around the kitchen like a little tornado without causing harm to anything? When a healthy meal is accomplished with rapidity minus said tornado and minimal mess is incurred…oh, gorgeous. That recipe is a keeper for sure.

poached_salmon3

Like this salmon.

Riley's a watchful babysitter.

Riley’s a watchful babysitter.

This recipe gives new definition to Quick, and also to Easy. Even better, it’s delicious too, and can be adapted for a whole host of fishes and vegetables. I’ve had it with cod, adding a bunch of squash and mushrooms to the sauce, as well as the salmon. I’ll admit, I’ve leaned on the odd can and frozen vegetables here and there recently, what with it being winter and the time-saving aspects, but it’s not necessary.  Each time we’ve had this so far, I spent maybe 5 minutes prep getting the tomato mixture in the skillet before Little Monkey’s nursing/bedtime routine; when he was tucked in his crib, all I had to do was sprinkle salt and pepper on the fish, place it on top of the vegetable mixture, and let it poach 15 minutes while I got to be my high-energy tornado self elsewhere in the house, accomplishing at least one task that once took twice the time or more. Beautiful.

Poached salmon/fish with garlicky spinach and tomatoes
serves 3-4

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • good shake of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3-4 salmon fillets (roughly 4 ounce each)
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper flakes and cook gently until fragrant, a minute or two
  2. Add tomatoes, spinach, wine, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer  (about 5 minutes or as long as you need to until you’re ready to add the fish).
  3. Bring heat to medium-low; season fish with salt and pepper and place on top of tomato mixture. Cover and cook  until fish is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve fish over vegetable mixture, spooning some of the liquid on top.

Veggie-packed light “pad thai”

pad_thai2I’m not sure when it was exactly that I stopped hating–or at least strongly disliking–Chinese food. Whenever that was, I went straight to loving it. I think there was a moment, staring at my 15-year old reflection aboard a train careening through the Chinese countryside; something clicked about the majesty, mystique, and complex contradictions that belonged to that culture, when I realized it was shameful that I’d allowed myself to be ashamed of my mixed heritage.

Even as a baby, it seems I had some kind of innate aversion to being half Chinese. My mom recounts how, when she would try to speak to me in Cantonese, the 12-toned cacophony caused such distress I shrieked my lungs out. In the then homogenous town that was home through 4th grade, kids would wear pins that said “kiss me, I’m Italian”. I regularly got teased with “ching chongs”, and fingers stretching faces to create slanted eyes. I pretty much cried every day for a couple of years. It pains me to think how much that must have hurt my mom, who worked her butt off getting into the schools and striving to introduce beauty and diversity and respect for worlds far away.

When my sisters and I were given the gift of joining our parents on a state goodwill mission to China, three weeks provided an education worth a lifetime, no matter how much hard info we would retain from the journey. Treated to a talent show by a primary school, I was moved near to tears by the talent and the passion exploding on stage. Suddenly “Chinese” meant real people, not just an adjective I tried to avoid.

By the time I traveled to Taiwan to spend a year teaching English in between college and grad school, my taste buds had matured, and I truly loved Asian food. It was then I discovered another side of being half Chinese. To the Taiwanese, I was not Chinese. I was very clearly American, maybe even Latino. Unlike American Chinese who looked fully the part, there was no expectation that I should already speak Mandarin. When my Chinese friends learned my mom was from Hong Kong, they were shocked.

That year my family flew into Taipei after Christmas to visit, and I planned a lunch including Chinese and other ex-pat friends. I’d thought I’d done a pretty good job of preparing Asian dishes; but as we were eating, I overheard some of my Chinese friends asking one another whether or not they’d ever had Western food before. Since then, I’ve jumped at the opportunity to identify food as “fusion”. I never make Chinese food, only fusion. I don’t authentically know how. Maybe one day…but I think fusion is beautiful.

cutiefaceNow that I’m a mom, there is a new profundity accompanying the recognition that shame is something we learn. I look at my sweet baby boy, and the purity of his innocence jumps out at me. It causes a pang or two here and there for it’s temporal nature. He will face, have to deal with and make sense of, countless challenges, prejudices, injustices, and hurts. They will change and shape him in ways I can’t begin to imagine or hope to protect him from. I hope to help him develop a moral sense that brings with it regret and desire to right his negative choices. But no matter what, I with with a full heart he never be ashamed of who he is.

For a long time now, any kind of Asian food is not only up there with my favorites, it carries kind of a a festive feel to it. At new year, some kind of noodle dish has to happen.  I guess it stems partly from a blend of superstition and respect for the Asian tradition of “long life noodles” at the new year, bringing the eater what the name suggests. OK, pad thai’s not Chinese, but as I said, all my attempts at Asian food are “fusion” anyway, and it’s awfully good.

This is just loosely “pad thai”. It happens to be (of course) easy to prepare and full of veggies and potential for variation. This year, as our holiday plans temporarily collapsed in one stressful day, Asian-inspired noodle dishes are appearing sooner and more often. They make me feel closer to family.

 pad_thaiLight vegetable pad thai

  • 6 ounces dried wide rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • approximately 6 cups mixed vegetables of choice: I used a red bell pepper, a small broccoli crown, mushrooms, and some bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • dash cracked red pepper
  • generous splash of lime
  • Chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until just al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large deep skillet over high heat until very hot. Add garlic and vegetable mix and stir-fry about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl.
  3. Add eggs to skillet and cook, stirring, until scrambled, about a minute. Add shrimp and the reserved vegetables; stir-fry until the shrimp curl and turn pink, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the noodles,  scallions, vinegar, fish sauce, soy/tamari sauce, honey, pepper, and lime juice; toss until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with peanuts.

Check out these (fish) balls!

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to send out a quick post on these, half as a cheeky sort of nod to our Whole Food Athlete friends, appreciating their penchant for certain types of balls. Only, again my (lack of) photography talent has presented an obstacle. Leftover fish doesn’t generally appeal to me, so I haven’t tended to set any aside, lest it become wasteful. And evening photo ops for food is too far beyond my talent to create anything passable.

 

In spite of myself, though, this week I decided to sod all cares of picture perfection and go with a photo or two of the least worst. Focus instead on keeping the wording more or less concise. Less reading, less revulsion potential.

Not that there’s anything to find revolting about these fish balls, as long as you like fish. Considering they’re “meatballs”, they’re almost alarmingly simple and straightforward to prepare, from ingredients to steps to timing. Blend in a food processor, shape into balls, and simmer in a simple tomato sauce. They require so little. A side of any vegetables will complete them, really.

Considering they’re fish, they’re surprisingly and pleasingly meaty. Substantial but not too filling. I like throwing spinach in them, but so many different addends are enticing. Like cilantro, or grated carrot.

So easy and tasty just as they are, yet begging for variation, sometimes, too. So, experiment. Humble white fish is highly accommodating. This is a recipe deliciously difficult to balls up.

Saucy fish balls with spinach (adapted from The Low Fat Cook’s Companion, Lorenz Books)

Serves 4

  • 1 pound tilapia, cod, or any white fish
  • 1/4 cup fresh wholemeal bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups fresh (or jarred) tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut fish into medium sized pieces (a few inches) and place in a food processor with bread crumbs, onion, and spinach. Season lightly with salt and pepper and process until combined to form a textured mixture in which fish is finely chopped.
  2. Divide fish mixture into even-sized balls (about 16-18). 
  3. Place tomato sauce in a large skillet or saucepan  cook over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 10-12 minutes. Serve hot.

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